The Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) has urged the state government to ask all city schools to spread awareness about “child sexual abuse” among students and staff members during their morning assemblies.
Analysing complaints of child sexual abuse it has received in the last two years, the commission concluded that in as many as 11% cases , the school was either where the crime took place or the offender was someone from the school.
“The commission also observed that in about 70% of the cases of child sexual abuse, the offender was known to the victim. The DCPCR has decided to spread awareness among school children and staff member,” said Jyoti Duhan Rathe, a commission member, in the letter sent to the DoE last week.
The commission urged the department of education (DoE) to ask schools to conduct at least one activity a week on topics such as child sexual abuse, child safety, child trafficking and good touch/bad touch, during the morning assemblies.
“The objective is to encourage children to defend themselves and teach them how to say ‘no’. We want to encourage them to speak up against abuse. The activities will be through storytelling, debates, essay writing and poster making,” the letter stated.
The commission member said that in most of the complaints of “child sexual abuse” it receives from schools the offenders are “fourth grade staffers” such as sweepers, helpers, peon, drivers or conductors employed there. “The purpose of using morning assemblies for conducting these activities is to reach out to a larger audience, which includes students, teachers, administrative staff, security guards and peons, at one time,” Rathe said.
Sanjay Geol, director of the DoE, said that the department will consider the suggestion and implement it from next academic year. “The ongoing academic session is about to get over. So, we will surely consider this suggestion next academic year scheduled to begin from April,” he said.
Another expert, however, said that such activites must be done in smaller groups.
“It’s very important to conduct these activities in schools but it should be conducted as per the age groups of the children. The age of children matters a lot while handling and addressing such issues. Similarly, there should be separate activities to sensitise the teaching and non-teaching staff. But, the DCPCR’s suggestion, I think, is keeping in mind the logistics of schools and it’s good that the government are thinking to do something about it,” said Deepika Kapoor, a school psychologist.
The DCPCR also issued notice to the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) after a 10-year-old girl was allegedly raped by a sanitation workers in one of its schools last week. The commission sought a status report in the case by February 26.
First Published: Feb 12, 2019 14:45 IST